Coastweeks, or the International Coastal Cleanup is a nationwide effort coordinated
by The Ocean Conservancy and for the past 30 years, they have inspired millions of people to assist with the
cause for healthier seas. Each year, The Ocean Conservancy mobilizes communities to
help organize and participate in beach cleanups whilst recording/documenting data
such as what kinds of trash they pick up and how much. You can join the effort to
reduce marine debris from our coasts to help keep our islands clean!
Cleanups are great but you can take your action one step further today! Make a non-monetary
pledge to reduce your dependence on single-use plastics.
Take a look at some photos from our past Coastweeks cleanups. This can help to give
you an idea of what to expect during a cleanup.
Coastweeks cleanups focus on both the removal of trash from our coastlines and also
the recording of specific data (what types of trash, how much, weight, location, etc.).
This data is helpful as it is used to support legislative action to combat the issue
of marine debris and plastic pollution.
Every tiny piece of trash counts during cleanups! Most beaches are littered with small
pieces of trash such as cigarette butts, bottle caps, straws, and plastic utensils.
While these trash items may be small in size, they are just as problematic as larger
improperly discarded trash items such as plastic bags and construction materials.
Cleanups can take place on land and underwater! Diving cleanups help to remove larger
trash items like this lawn chair that was trasnported into the waters of Coki Beach
after the 2017 Hurricane Irma.
Depending on the cleanup location, glass beverage bottles may be collected to support
our USVI Glass Recovery Program. Through this effort, glass beverage bottles are pulverized back into sand and cullets
(essentially small gravel but made with glass) that are used for: 1) Filling of sandbags, 2) Landscaping, 3) Water filtration, 4) Substrate for planting mangroves, and 5) Concrete aggregate.
Students that volunteer through Coastweeks can receive community service hours that
can count towards their graduation requirements. Another reason to volunteer at your
next cleanup; support a noteworthy cause to remove debris from our coastlines whilst
earning community service hours.
Our 2023 Coastweeks Cleanups have concluded. However, our team can coordinate cleanups
at any time. Click the button below to schedule a cleanup.
63% of all trash collected during the 2023 Coastweeks cleanups was plastic waste.
This included items such as 2,035 plastic bottle caps, 1,594 plastic bottles, and
984 plastic straws. While these items may seem small in size, they can have long-lasting
impacts when improperly disposed of.
Howard Forbes Jr.
Marine Debris / Coastweeks Cleanup Resources
You can download/access any of the resources below to learn more about marine debris
and be better prepared for your next cleanup!
This activity book was adapted from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and contains locally-relevant
examples and activities to educate you on the topic of marine debris as well as what
you can do to prevent it. Hard copies of the book can be made available upon request
though supplies are limited. Click the image of the book above or HERE to access the full activity book.
This curriculum was funded through the NOAA Marine Debris Program and developed through
the collaborative input of USVI educators, scientists, natural resource managers,
students, and many others. Adapted from the marine debris curriculum developed for
Oregon Sea Grant, this resource provides educators with strategies and tools to provide
locally-relevant instruction to their students on the topic of marine debris. Hard
copies of this resource can be made available upon request though supplies are limited.
Click the image of the book above or HERE to access the curriculum.
Our team uses this presentation to introduce the topic of marine debris whilst paying
attention to 4 main areas: 1) What is marine debris? 2) How is marine debris transported?
3) What are the impacts of marine debris? 4) What can we do to minimize and/or prevent
marine debris. You can download the presentation in pdf format by either clicking
the image above or by clicking HERE.
The USVI Marine Debris Action Plan is a living document created to protect the USVI
coasts, people, and wildlife from the impacts of marine debris. The plan is a result
of input and feedback from stakeholders at workshops held in 2020 and 2021. You can
access the USVI Marine Debris Action Plan by either clicking the image above or by
This Ocean Trash poster produced by The Ocean Conservancy highlights some of the more
commonly found items during cleanups. These posters can be made available upon request;
however, supplies are limited. Click the image of the poster or HERE to download the poster.
Download this Save the Date Flyer to advertise your next cleanup. Printed copies of
these can be made available upon request. Click the image of the poster or HERE to download the flyer.
This is the data card used by The Ocean Conservancy to document the various types
and amounts of trash collected during cleanups such as our annual Coastweeks cleanups.
Download the data card by clicking the image above or by clicking HERE.
You can hand these certificates produced by The Ocean Conservancy to your cleanup
volunteers; printed copies can be made available upon request. Download these certificates
by clicking the image above or by clicking HERE.
Coastweeks Data Through the Years
The U.S. Virgin Islands has been participating in the International Coastal Cleanup
effort for over 30 years! You can take a look at the data collected from these cleanups
to get an idea of how the composition of marine debris has changed on our shorelines
over time. Click any of the years in the image captions below to access the data for
that year. *Note: This isn't a complete data set as some years are missing but the
data can be a useful tool to make comparisons between sites and types of debris collected
Data collected during this time period utilized a slightly different version of the
data card. Thus, there may be variations in what data was collected.
Data collected during this time frame was collected using the cleanup form we use
today. Some years' data are missing altogether (2010-2013) or cleanups were not scheduled
due to weather as in the case of 2017.